Byeong Lee

Ten years ago, after a lifetime of service to the city of San Paro and its people, Byeong Lee retired from his position as deputy commissioner of the SPPD. He had done all he could, he felt, and it was time to make way for a younger man. He recommended to the commissioner that August Carter be promoted to be his replacement. Carter was a good man, even if he and Byeong had had various disagreements over the years - principally over the use of lethal force by the SPPD in the discharge of their normal duties - and Byeong had a feeling that deputy commissioner would not be the last rung on the career ladder that Carter would climb to. For himself, Byeong was looking forward to his retirement in the quiet oceanside district of Prentiss. Two of his children also lived there, and he enjoyed the thought of being able to spend time with his grandchildren, a duty he had sadly neglected too often in his time the SPPD, as the city's escalating crime problem made continued demands of the attention and time of the men and women who had sworn to protect their fellow citizens.

Ten years on, Byeong's not so sure he made the right decision. In truth, his retirement wasn't entirely voluntary. At the commissioner's request, he had written a blue sky thinking report on possible solutions to the stratospheric increase in violent and armed crime in San Paro. Some of the suggestions in the report - relaxation on shoot to kill rules for SPPD officers coming up against armed felons, detention centres for suspected violent criminals, the creation of armed (but closely supervised) citizen's militia groups to ease the pressure on an under-manned police department - raised eyebrows among SPPD top brass. However, it wasn't until someone at the mayor's office - looking to score points off the Department - leaked the report to the press and put some spin on it that suggested the proposals were a lot more concrete than any of them actually were. Ironically, many of the same media commentators and op-ed writers who so viciously condemned Byeong's proposals at the time now call for many similar-sounding policies to be enacted today.

The press went wild, accusations of police state by stealth flew across San Paro's media, and the mayor's office demanded Byeong's head on a plate. His early retirement was the deal negotiated with the mayor's office by the then-commissioner, a fundamentally decent but ineffectual man. Had he stayed on, and perhaps succeeded the commissioner as head of the SPPD, Byeong always wondered if things would have turned out differently; if he would have been able to stop the rot, or if San Paro would still have slid into the anarchy and state of daily mayhem that it exists in today.

Byeong has watched the city and its police department slowly disintegrate over the last ten years. He supports the City Security Act, but thinks it probably came years too late and still doesn't go far enough. Looking ten years ahead, he foresees a San Paro divided up into a series of isolated fortress communities - good people banding together for mutual defence - surrounded by a landscape of urban lawlessness. It's not exactly the world he hoped his grandchildren would grow up to become part of, but it's a helluva lot better than the alternative; the entire city as one big free-fire zone. Prentiss could be the model for one of these fortress communities; surrounded by water on at least two sides, and easily defensible, with an affluent, motivated population and a strong shared community spirit.

What he needed, though, were footsoldiers to stand guard on its walls. He looked around, and he found the Tigers. Sure, they were kids, most of them too young to even have graduated from police academy, but they were motivated, and they had already started organising themselves. They had got lucky a few times already, but sooner or later their luck was going to run out, unless they had someone to show them the ropes and point them in the right direction.

Byeong was commander of the SPPD SWAT division for eight years. Byeong knows weapons. Byeong knows tactics and counter-insurgency measures. He slots easy into the Tigers, part team coach, part combat advisor. And he's got a personal stake in their success too now; his grand-daugher Joo-eun is one of them. Every time he plans a Tigers op, he always assumes she might be part of it, and he always does everything he can to keep all his kids alive.

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Level Activity

We're going to try and new tack for a moment. Kill a notoriety 5 Criminal. Cut off the head of the snake and the body will die soon after. Mmhm, I don't think it'll work either but it's worth a shot.

Kill 1 Notoriety five Criminal.

Biography: Geography (Part 2)

San Paro Old Money makes its home in the Concession. They're mostly Asians and Europeans, but the only real passports you need to gain access to this secluded and privileged world are wealth and discretion. The basis of many of the San Paro Old Money family fortunes were built on the profits from piracy, slavery and various kinds of smuggling and trading in illicit contraband, so they don't complain much now that San Paro New Money - i.e. organised crime - has moved into the neighbourhood, as long as the new arrivals keep the noise down and conduct their business well away from home.

You can see the quiet boulevards and walled mansions of the Concession from across Central Park, from the condos and townhouse rooftops of well-to-do Virginia Gardens, where San Paro's not quite wealthy enough and not quite powerful enough reside. Corporate CEOs and majority shareholders live in the Concession. Their lawyers, tax accountants and divisional vice-presidents live in Virginia Gardens, where, at the rounds of the endless dinner and cocktail parties, there are the same endless conversations about the Gardens being so much more happening than the Concession anyway. Fashionably liberal, the Gardens has the highest concentration of San Paro Standard readers in the city. Newcomers from other areas are always welcome, just as long as they're the right kind of newcomers.

Further uptown, there's Montebank, still geographically - if not socially - considered part of 'original' old San Paro. Population shifts decades earlier - the decanting of whole communities from Havalynd as skyscraper construction began marching across the district, the decline of the Waterfront as a working port, an attempted regeneration of Midtown - saw this once prosperous area fill up with the city's poor and jobless. Squeezed between the wealthier (and heavily protected) areas downtown of it, and the outlying areas now filling up with cheap immigrant labour, Montebank became a trap for the people living there. Montebank has the lowest school attendance rates and highest gangs per-square-kilometre figures in the city.

In its boom years, San Paro's factories in Red Hill and its power stations in Cortland Point needed workers, and plenty of them. Cheap immigrant labour - from Africa, from Asia, from Latin America and Eastern Europe (the latter including Luke Waskawi's own father) - flooded into the city to meet its manpower demands. The boom years ended. The city's manufacturing base went into terminal decline. A lot of the factories and power stations are gone. The people who worked in them are still there, forming a large and disaffected part of the population of these areas. In Red Hill, Russian - not Korean or Spanish - is now the second most commonly spoken language, after English. In Cortland Point, graffiti appears in half a dozen or more different Asian languages - everything from Cantonese to Sanskrit.

The Yard is the newest area of San Paro, a vast urban sprawl built to house the immigrant overspill and those traditional San Parians forced out of their traditional neighbourhoods by a combination of urban decay, rising crime, gentrification-led spiralling rents and population decanting to make way for urban reconstruction. The ideal was to create a new Outer San Paro. The reality was far different. Left more or less unpoliced by a shrinking SPPD, the Yard became a patchwork collection of warring communities, as each ethnic group or immigrant population clustered together for self-protection, while at the same time usually preying on their neighbours. San Paro's polyglot culture disastrously breaks down in the Yard, where all the city's constituent groups - with the obvious absence of the wealthy - are crammed together and at each other's throats.

As Mikko Wong once wrote in the San Paro Standard: "Ever wonder what San Paro's going to look like in the future? You don't need a time machine - just ride a bus out to the Sprawl and see for yourself. Then get the hell out of there as fast as you can, and start worrying what's going to happen when that future's happening right outside your front door."

Biography: Nulander


Nulander (originally Nulander Fabrication) initially specialised in the manufacture of machine tools, before moving into auto-fabrication. Based in Round Rock, Austin Texas, Nulander is a relative newcomer to automobile construction, only starting to produce their SUVs in 1993. Their first model was an international sensation after Albrecht Schmitz (the famous German body builder turned actor) featured a convoy of the SUVs in his 1995 action blockbuster: Future Robot War III, and then bought three of them following filming. Having invested heavily in the quality, design, and manufacturing of their off-road vehicles, Nulander steadily diversified its product ranges and began to sell to international markets in 2003. In 2008, the company merged with Agonika to leverage the latter's powerful engines and sophisticated engineering. The vehicles released in 2009 are a strong new image for Nulander, and a massive mainstream success, overtaking the models of their much larger international competitors.

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Level Subject
2 Some reflections

My generation have made so many mistakes. I apologize for that, since we have left your generation to deal with them all.

We squabbled among ourselves over whose fault it was, all of us avoiding our own share of the blame, when we could have been trying to solve the problem.

When we did talk about solving it, we ignored the most direct and effective answer and turned on each other again.

Anyway, enough lectures from old man Byeong. My thanks - for being part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.


Byeong Lee

4 Thoughts of the day.

You know, of course, that I used be to be with the SPPD. What gives it away? My belief in the need for strong and protective law and order, or all the memos, directives and dress code updates that crazy old man Byeong bores you all with?

Forgive me. The habits of a lifetime are hard to break.

I've been retired for ten years. In that time, I've seen this city become everything I tried to warn my colleagues about. For that, I was accused of being alarmist, and was forced out and made the scapegoat for the mistakes of others.

As they say, a prophet is without honor in his own land.


Byeong Lee

6 Too little, too late?

It amuses me, seeing public officials implementing hard-line anti-crime policies, and media pundits applauding them for it.

Many of these people are the same ones who demanded my head on a stick ten years ago, when I first formulated those policies.

I support Derren and her City Security Act (how could I not? I am the original architect of many of its features), but I wonder if both she and it haven't come too late to save us.

It should have happened long ago, when we could have met the crime issue head-on. Now, I fear, we're just racing to try and catch up with it.


Byeong Lee

8 Why I joined the Tigers.

I was impressed by the Tigers immediately. Many of them were not even old enough for the SPPD Academy, but they had achieved more than many veteran cops I have known.

They were motivated and highly capable - at least, in the limited scope of the operations they had been running so far - but they lacked experience and tactical acumen.

I had both, and offered my services. An easy decision. I believed in what they were doing, and my grand-daughter Joo-eun was by then one of them.

Every time I plan an operation, I assume she may be part of it. I do what I can to keep all of them safe.


Byeong Lee

10 The future?

Do you know what really caused my fall from grace? The model I suggested for the San Paro of the future. It frightened everyone too much.

The city divided into fortress communities - good people protecting themselves against the lawlessness beyond their immediate borders. Not ideal, I'll grant you, but better than the alternative - the whole city lost, with no safe havens anywhere.

We are almost at that point. Many areas cannot be defended. Let the criminals have them, and kill each other fighting over them. We can marshal our resources in those areas worth defending.

Prentiss is the model for this. If it works here, then others may follow.


Byeong Lee